The Quest for Balance: 4 Powerful Questions to Inspire Real Change
People have been in search of balance for what seems like eons. In our current world, where time is scarce, information is abundant, and the to-do lists are endless, balance is seen as the missing piece. The belief is once balance can be found, everything else will fall into place. It’s no wonder the quest for balance for some has taken on the attributes of other mystical quests like the search for El Dorado or the Holy Grail.
What if the reason we find it so difficult to find balance is because we no longer know what we are searching for?
Answering the following four powerful questions may hold the key to finding the balance you are seeking.
What exactly are you trying to balance?
The first step is always to get specific about defining the groups of things you are trying to balance. Many leaders I work with name work/life balance as the one challenge they want to work through in our coaching engagements. How one person defines life is different from someone else. Same goes for work.
Life could mean any combination of kids, partners, parents, extended families, hobbies, volunteer work, travel, creation or exercise. Work may mean keeping up with one’s job, professional development, career transition, preparing for a promotion, or starting a new business.
What are the groups of things you are trying to balance? Write down titles for each of the groups, then get specific about all the things that you would put under each category. It is important to remember, these are uniquely yours, so write down anything and everything.
This list becomes critical to your quest for balance; it is the “X” marked on your map.
In what ways would finding balance impact your life?
As with any quest, there will be obstacles, setbacks and maybe even a dragon or two. It is critical then, before beginning any quest that you take the time to explore the personal value you place on balance.
What would you gain by finding balance, however you personally define it? What will balance give you that you do not already have? What are the consequences of continuing to live “unbalanced?”
If you do not know why balance is important to you, or what you will gain from finding balance, what reason do you have to make any changes?
Where is the imbalance?
Now that you have an end point on your map, it is time to get clear about where you are starting. How else would you know how far you have to go if you don’t first determine where you are?
Over one week, record the time you spent in each of the things you identified in your groups. There are free tools, like a Life Wheel, that are a Google search away. A simple chart can be just as powerful. Whatever your method, the important part is to record where you are focusing your time each week.
At the end of the week you will have developed a snapshot of your current state. You may find you are closer to your balance than you initially thought. You may also be able to gain more clarity on the specific areas where you are not in balance. Just a note, though: this is not an exercise in judgement. It is intended to be a realistic capture of where you currently place your focus (measured by time spent). So be kind to yourself while completing this step.
What areas of your life do you have to focus/refocus on to move towards achieving your own personal balance?
Now that you have mapped out where you are, and where you are going on your quest for balance, it is time to map out the steps you will take to get there.
Keeping in mind the weekly record of where you focus your time, what two to three areas can you refocus your time that would make the biggest impact to your own personal balance? Picking the two or three areas to focus on first makes the quest less overwhelming. Conversely, what one to two things will you stop focusing your time on going forward in order to better achieve balance?
You may also need some help along your quest. What supports do you need to make these changes? This could include sharing your plans with those around you, creating daily reminders of what impact finding balance has on your life, or a host of other strategies that will help you make the changes you need to make.
By being more specific about how you value and define balance, the path to achieving it becomes clearer and, thereby, easier to achieve.
©Fiamma Coaching and Consulting/Rosa Edinga